Weekend away at Kangaroo Valley

1 November 2013

On a recent weekend we took a short break to Kangaroo Valley, a lovely village tucked away in the Shoalhaven.

Leaving work in Sydney a little after 6 on Friday night, we drove down through Bowral in the Southern Highlands. We were staying at the bed and breakfast; Karalika Springs. Halfway through the drive we got a call from Harry the owner checking up on us, making sure we knew the way and wanting to know what we were planning for dinner. He made some recommendations to eat and said to do that first, he’ll be up waiting for us and the light will be on. Great hospitality and forethought, we knew we were in safe hands for the weekend. We had a nice feed in the local pub, there was a lively atmosphere with an acoustic singer playing away in the corner a varied hit list of classics that a lot of the crowd were singing  & swaying along to.

In the morning, we arose to sweet smell of bacon on the fry pan and a large english breakfast with all the condiments on offer, enough said I was in heaven! With a belly well and truly full, we then set about working off the calories starting with a trip to Fitzroy Falls and a walk around the escarpment. The area from the lookout is similar to the Blue Mountains, with a thick tree canopy through the national park. It’s an easy round trip walk to the lookouts, on this day there was a fog which seemed to have a life of it’s own, at certain times it was hard to see a few metres in front but then the whole area would open up as the cloud cleared.

old store barrengary kangaroo valleyAfter the walk, my hunger had returned and with a sign (maybe from God) ‘The Worlds Best Pies’ invited us in – and taste we did. The Old Store at Barrengary is a quaint shop with all the lollies you can remember from your youth, along with some great pies! We went for a couple, the curry and steak & pepper and weren’t disappointed.

Next on our travels was to take to the river on a kayak. It’s fair to say that the weekend was unplanned and were governed by impulse of what tickled our fancy. This time round it was some kayaks on display on the roof a car at the front of Kangaroo Valley safaris shop. After signing up we walked about 200m on the ‘beach’. You start at the bottom of the Hampden Bridge, the river was running very low with probably 10 metres clearance. The guide in the shop had told us when there is decent rains the Kangaroo river can get up to lapping at the bottom of the bridge which is hard to imagine. We went at our own pace and it was such a lovely trip, my wife really enjoyed it all apart from all the times when I splashed her. There were loads of wildlife at the side of the river, Kangaroo Valley is quiet enough as it is but as soon as you are around the corner from the bridge you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere by yourselves. The kicker for me was we were met two hours downstream by a bus driver taking us and the kayaks back to our car, now that’s what I call service! This was a beautifully peaceful trip and importantly easy.

hamden bridge kangaroo valleyI am trying to raise my level of golf from hack to somewhat passable, so at any opportunity I love getting out on the golf course. Without planning or booking we stopped into the Kangaroo Valley Golf Club and played 9 holes in the afternoon. The course lived up to it’s name, full of kangaroos in the late afternoon nibbling on grass as the day got cooler. The course was beautiful, working its way up the hill with great views of the valley at the top along with some demanding shots over deep gullies.

Fair to say it had been a long but fulfilling day!

On the Sunday we repeated on the breakfast, did some walks around Tallowa Dam, whilst not easily marked there is some good views over the dam and surrounding area.

We took the scenic route home via the coast and Royal National Park. It probably adds another hour to the journey home, but what it takes in time, it more than makes up for in scenery. The road bends through the beaches North of Wollongong, along the stunning sea cliff bridge before heading up to Stanwell Park and the lookout. It is very popular with motorcyclists as a roundtrip and I can see why.  We got back to Sydney as the sun was dropping, weary from the adventures of the weekend but invigorated from the break.

More by Stephen Benjamin